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Onto the specifications, first of all it's worth pointing out that regardless of how good or fast the memory, controller or any other relevant bits used, SSDs with a capacity this small are never likely to match the theoretical performance maximum of their bigger cousins. This is because part of the speed advantage SSDs enjoy over traditional hard drives is due to their controllers allowing data to be recorded to all their flash modules simultaneously. In other words, one file can be divided into a large number of parts that can all be written at the same time. A smaller number of flash modules equals fewer parts, meaning you get lower overall performance.
However, though the Kingston 40GB's quoted read speed of 170MB/s is hardly surprising, a write speed of 40MB/s is shockingly bad! In fact, that's easily the worst quoted speed we've come across on a modern SSD. Consider, for example, that the even smaller 30GB version of OCZ's mainstream Agility (of which we reviewed the 120GB model only last week) quotes read and write speeds of 185 and 100MB/s, respectively.
So right now you might be thinking that the 40GB suffers these snail-like specifications thanks to a cheap, slow controller. In a rather more pleasant if no less controversial surprise this Kingston drive sports an Intel X25-M controller! In fact, this is essentially just a rebadged version of Intel's latest drives. As such, as well as full TRIM support (for an explanation of which we refer you to our Patriot TorqX review), it should provide blazing performance. At least it would, had Kingston not removed so many of the memory chips. Still, the proof of the SSD is in the testing, so let's get to it.
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